Article 4 Directions - Houses in Multiple Occupation


Planning permission is not normally required to convert a dwelling into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) provided that the property accommodates no more than six unrelated individuals. Such changes of use are normally ‘permitted development’.

Local Planning Authorities can withdraw ‘permitted development rights’ through Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended). The effect of such a Direction is that planning permission is then needed for the withdrawn permitted development once the Direction comes into force.

Article 4 Directions in areas of Crewe

On the 6 October 2020, three non-immediate Article 4 Directions were made covering areas of Crewe. These cover the streets around Nantwich Road, Hungerford Road and West Street.  Copies of the Directions and maps of the areas affected can be viewed below:

Why are the directions being introduced?

The majority of the Borough’s HMO s are located within Crewe and these are concentrated around the Nantwich Road, Hungerford Road and West Street areas of the town.

The council’s cabinet report and evidence paper (Appendix D) highlights a coincidence of environmental, economic and social issues within areas with high concentrations of HMO s – for example increased levels of fly-tipping. The Article 4 Directions will enable the council to better monitor and manage the growth of new HMO s within these areas via the planning application process.


We invited representations to be made on the making of the three Article 4 Directions between 19 October 2020 and 11 January 2021. All representations received have been considered and a decision has now been taken to confirm the three Directions by the Portfolio Holder for Planning which will bring them into effect on the 1 November 2021.

In the forthcoming weeks the statutory procedures necessary to confirm the Directions will be completed and notice will be given. This page will be updated in due course as the Directions are finalised.

Once the Directions come into force on the 1 November 2021, the change of use of a dwellinghouse (C3) to a house in multiple occupation (C4) shall not be carried out in the Direction areas, unless planning permission is first granted for this change of use.

The Directions do not apply retrospectively. Any dwelling (Use Class C3) in use as a small HMO (Use Class C4) before the Directions take effect will not be affected. However, it would be in the interests of landlords and property owners to keep records to demonstrate that dwellings are were in use as HMOs before the Directions take effect in the event that this is later queried.

If landlords and property owners require written confirmation that a dwelling is in current use as a HMO (Use Class C4) then the appropriate procedure for doing so would be to submit an application for a Lawful Development Certificate.

Other planning policy documents

Alongside the Article 4 Directions cited above, the following documents are also in production:

  • Cheshire East Site Allocations and Development Policies Document (SADPD). This is the second part of the Cheshire East Local Plan and includes draft policy HOU4: Houses in Multiple Occupation. The Revised Publication Draft SADPD  was published for representations between 26 October 2020 and 23 December 2020. You can find out the latest news about the SADPD on our Cheshire East Local Plan webpage.
  • Final Draft Houses in Multiple Occupation Supplementary Planning Document. This  SPD will provide further guidance to all parties involved in the planning application process for Houses in Multiple Occupation. This has been published for representations between between 26 April 2021 and 27 June 2021. You can find out more about this on our supplementary planning documents webpage.

If you have any queries, you can contact the Strategic Planning Team at:  or by leaving a message on 01270 685893 and we will respond as soon as possible.